Greetings from Lomé, Togo, West Africa. I pray that everyone had a great start to this New Year 2012.
During our short stay in Ghana after leaving Sierra Leone, one thing on my heart was to be able to find Jonas, a former patient, actually one of the first patients I met when I moved to the Anastasis in Ghana in June 2006. Though all I had was his first name, his home town and a before surgery photo. I first met him at the surgical screening day in 2006 and after he finished the screening process, he returned with joy to tell me that he was accepted and had a surgery appointment. I awaited his arrival in our hospital and was actually able to observe his surgery (see below photo). During his recovery, I visited him almost daily for many weeks. Though when he departed, I didn’t obtain any of his contact information.
On the 29 December 2011, I really felt to leave work early and to go and see if I can find him. His hometown is Tema Newtown, an industrial/fishing area near the port city of Tema with tens of thousands of residents. I prayed and off I went taking a shared taxi from the roundabout. While in the vehicle I explained to the driver and other passengers what I was attempting and requested their advice. The driver let me off in a location he thought I should start in. The first group of guys I asked, said to walk farther down. Then I saw two ladies and approached them and one shared she actually saw Jonas that morning. With excitement, I asked, do you know where he lives and she said Yes!!! There was a hint for a Christmas bonus (money) which I didn’t have, but her and her friend walked me back through a maze of shacks for about eight minutes and then I looked left and there was Jonas standing right there and after only split second, he recognized me. It was a great reunion as we last saw each other in October 2006. Please see the photo to the right of Jonas and some of his friends, a nephew and myself outside his shack. Jonas has a condition which actually partially grew back and he knew and was informed that would happen. After visiting, I told him I would check with the surgeon about whether we can schedule a second surgery while the ship is in neighboring nation of Togo – just the next country to the East and only 3-4 hours by public transport.
Dr. Gary remembered Jonas and said to turn in his contact information to the Patient Flow Manager and we’ll see if he can be scheduled (need to wait till after the Togolese patients screened in 2010 are scheduled).
Next Wednesday, February 1st, the entire crew will be involved in the surgical screening for this field service – the surgical specialties include: maxillofacial, plastic reconstructive, ophthalmic, VVF (vesicovaginal fistulas) and general. The operating rooms will be open for 17 weeks and we expect to provide surgery for over 1,200 patients. One of which may be Jonas.
Our Chief Medical Officer shared this prayer with us related to the surgical screening and I wish to share it with you. “That He (Father God) would bring to us all the people He has purposes for with us and that He would keep away those He doesn’t have purposes for with us.”